The Republican National Committee has formally condemned the National Security Agency's surveillance program, saying it is a violation of the right of privacy protected by the Constitution.
During its winter meeting in Washington on Friday, the committee overwhelmingly passed a measure calling for lawmakers to end the PRISM program which it described as "the largest surveillance effort ever launched by a democratic government against its own citizens."
It also called for a special committee to be set up to investigate domestic surveillance efforts, MSNBC reports.
"I have to thank Edward Snowden for bringing forth the blatant trampling of our First and Fourth Amendment rights in the guise of security," Nevada Committeewoman Diana Orrock told MSNBC in the summer when she introduced the proposal. "Something had to be said. Something had to be done."
The resolution, which was passed with a small minority of the 168 RNC members dissenting, states that the NSA metadata program is "an invasion into the personal lives of American citizens that violates the right of free speech and association afforded by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution."
It adds that the mass collection and retention of personal data is also a violation of the Fourth Amendment, and says unwarranted government surveillance is "an intrusion on basic human rights that threatens the very foundations of a democratic society."
MSNBC notes that the RNC's position is in stark contrast to the stance it took in 2006 after the New York Times revealed the NSA had wiretapped American citizens without warrants.
Ken Mehlman, chairman of the RNC at the time, said, "Do Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean really think that when the NSA is listening in on terrorists planning attacks on America, they need to hang up when those terrorists dial their sleeper cells inside the United States?"
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